December 19, 2003
Constancy

My desk faces southwest and sunrise is washing a hazy peach ribbon across Chapel Hill's heights. Logically, it's all the sun's angle on our latitude, and the refraction and reflection of light with dust and moisture in the air; but how unsatisfying is this reduction--no justice to the miraculous concoction of scattered light that makes that roseate glow, or how the subtle breeze stirs the netting of bare tree limbs that frames this sight.

And it happens every day.

Three hundred and sixty-five times a year it arrives like clockwork, unheralded; also, at least 365 times a year someone spills their milk, helps someone across the road, cuts someone off in traffic, makes a new friend, loses another. The earth keeps spinning, the planets keep aligning and disaligning. As they say, life goes on.

So every day, even with the miracle that is a sunrise, you hope for something different, something that heightens things beyond that constant spinning. At the same time, when this doesn't happen, as unfortunate as you may feel, you have to tell yourself that Apocalypse won't occur suddenly, the glaciers won't melt, Hatteras Lighthouse won't sink into the sea.

tower.1.650.jpg
The proposed design for the Freedom Tower in Lower Manhattan. Herbert Muschamp writes that it's better than we have any right to expect from a compromise collaboration--let's hope so.

It's a paradox I suppose, but we're a hopeful species that yearns for something miraculous while living our lives among miracles we stop seeing.

Explanations are often unsatisfying the same way equations of particles and light explain away a sunrise. At work, I seek them, but acknowledge that even a good explanation doesn't necessarily get to the heart of the matter. In spite of this, when it comes to breast cancer, I don't stop.

On the other hand, when it comes to your life, you oftentimes must stop. I used to keep on searching for explanations, but found that only breeds dissatisfaction and unhappiness.

So I'll stop here.

At the same time, I regretfully accept that the earth keeps spinning.

Posted by erich at December 19, 2003 09:36 PM
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